Due to a late start to the season, you might have seen that no fixtures were up for the league. Believe me, it is not for a lack of trying. Here is how we have fared so far with our trips to Paris. In the words of Captain Crimestop himself;
Super League Paris trips
Saturday 25th June: Mantes CC v Bordeaux Giscours CC
7 brave/mad men boarded the team minibus at 6am on Saturday for our first trip North in 2011. It was always going to be a tough ask with the legal minimum requirement of players but hopes were raised when Captain Crimestop won what turned out to be a Sourav Ganguly-style 'disputed' toss and elected to bat. The early start and lack of sleep however soon had an early effect when Bordeaux's top three all fell within the first few overs. Ferreira C, must even have still had his earplugs in when he chased a wide one as he was the only man at the ground not to hear the massive snick that followed (the passing Paris-Rouen intercity was drowned out so loud was the sound of leather on willow...). Veteran Horlock and Crimestop steadied the ship and produced some wonderful test match cricket to ensure that the overs were batted out and allow Grodger the Dodger to come in for a delicious cameo. One can only imagine that the all-run four was his warm-up for things to happen later that night...Bordeaux posted a low but defendable ..with 7 ?!!...159.
The Mantes batsmen, unsurprisingly, set about trying to hit the winning runs within 10 overs and wickets began to tumble....the run rate was never an issue for either side, the key being wickets and the Bordeaux bowlers & fielders toiled away valiantly (Snooke in particular with 4 wickets). It looked as if the match was slipping away until a smart run out from Pinsent but then a disastrous spate of wides put the home team back in the game and they reached their target with one wicket remaining. I never thought I'd say I was bitterly disappointed losing a game of cricket with 7 men but that's how it felt. A few beers and a steak went some way to lifting spirits but Ferreira C, still needed to be placed on 12-hour suicide watch.
Sunday 26th June: Dreux CC v Bordeaux Giscours CC
A good night's sleep for all but Goszek meant that we were well rested for the second game of the weekend at Dreux, one of France's most successful cricket clubs. Luke & Ashok (Juveniles CC) joined us for the day - the captain delighting in the luxury of having 9 men in the field. Dreux won the toss and chose to bat, posting 180 after being bowled out with several overs of the 40 to go (lack of scorebook prevents me from singling out the best bowlers but if my memory serves me right, everyone chipped in with wickets and good lines outside off stump)...After a tasty curry during the break, Bordeaux's openers, Morgan & Pinsent, proceeded to take the Dreux attack apart, putting on 145 for the first wicket in a fabulous batting display under a blazing sun. Unfortunately they couldn't finish their brilliant work off but the middle order comfortably knocked the 30 or so runs required. A first SL away victory for the club !
Saturday 2nd July: PUC v Bordeaux Giscours CC
The punishing SL schedule that has been imposed on us due to various Parisian clubs' political wrangling meant that we (9) were back in that van again at 6am on Saturday. This time for a long trip to Chantilly, north of Paris. On arriving we were pleased to see that the field was in excellent condition (compared to last year) and our two Juvenile friends (Luke and Dan this time) were waiting for us. 11 men: surely we were in with a chance ! Crimestop again called correctly and chose to bat although at 13 for 2 with last week's star performers back in the pavillion things weren't looking great. In similar fashion to the Mantes games it was Horlock and the captain who steadied things but the economical and accurate PUC bowling meant the total of 138 for 8 from 35 overs (late umpires...) was probably quite a bit short of what was required. PUC's very good opening batsmen confirmed this as they raced away to a good start with some quality strokeplay, and as catches went down, they reached the target for the loss of just one wicket with many overs to spare. It was a 'logical' defeat as we were out-competed in all aspects of the game. 192 euros worth of beer and a pizza later and we'd picked ourselves up, ready for an important game the next day.
Sunday 3rd July: CCSB95 v Bordeaux Giscours CC
Once again, a decent night of shuteye had everyone on good form for the CCSB95 match - a win against a side we have beaten in the past, being critical for our SL survival. The captain once again came up trumps at the toss and we were batting ! Pinsent misfired in the first over and then Morgan was out at 42 for 2. Ferreira C, dollar signs in his eyes following the previous night's drunken bet with the Captain, set off on a long, cautious and vital innings (89no) as we posted a decent 222 for 4 from our 40 overs. In the field (back to 9 men again...) we were very sharp and Snooke and Ferreira C picked up 3 wickets each as we slowly strangled the victory from CCSB who were all out for 155 all out - Baywatch Ferreira (tanned, biceps pumping...), with a ball that was clocked even slower than one of the President's slower slow balls, and Pinsent, with a direct hit run-out from the boundary wrapped the game up in style. A second away victory in the SL!
Many thanks to all those making the trip - it's hard work to get up to Paris, and even more so in consecutive weekends. I was really very happy to see the effort, commitment and spirit demonstrated throughout both trips. Well done guys.
In theory we have 3 games left to play in the SL, all at home in July and a win or two will no doubt ensure SL survival.